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BroadVision Marketing Blog

Conflict Happens—How That Leader Spots It

Posted by Jaco Grobbelaa on Tue, Nov 01, 2011 @ 08:36 PM

[caption id="attachment_2499" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Team Member Disrupting a Meeting"][/caption]

Every project, every team and every team leader on all levels are going to come in contact with conflict. What That Leader needs to learn is how to spot it in others in order to minimize, divert or resolve it as soon as possible.

What are some conflict indicators?

Probably the most obvious indication is body language. If the team member is unhappy about something, his body language will be guarded, turned from the leader, he will have minimal eye contact with the leader and even show micro-expressions of mocking or frowning. A leader in the midst of conflict will show the same either to his up-line team or to his team members.  That Leader will study body language in order to become conscious of the meanings of what he sees, but even an uninformed leader will subconsciously be aware of the signs and know there is a problem, even if he is only aware of it in his gut.

If a conflict is brewing, the upset party might disagree with everything, regardless of the issue. If she had been in favor of something in the past and is now disagreeing with it, a leader should read this as a sign that something else is wrong. Another sign is that the leader of the team member withholds bad news. It is best to hear that there is some change in the offing than to be hit with the change without any warning. This goes along with popping up surprises, things that come up without any warning as well.

Some other indications that a conflict is going on are having a team leader or member make strong public statements or actually air disagreements through the media (this includes social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). Leaders can be blindsided when a team member suddenly makes his feelings known in the lunch room, over the television or internet. This is a very good indicator that a conflict is occurring and That Leader will step in decisively to end it.

If the leader or members have conflicts in their value systems, this can have serious ramifications for the ability of the team to work cohesively. A person who does not drink alcohol among a group of evening drinkers is sure to be ostracized by the other members when they need to work together, resulting in a polarization of the groups, reducing cooperation. Any “us against them” situation will stall a project. That Leader should be aware of this mentality.

Often a leader or team member will want to take power from others to make herself look good or to move up the ladder. That Leader will need to be conscious of someone like this. He will take an increasing lack of respect and open disagreements as sure signs of conflict. If a member is not truthful about sensitive issues or lacks clear goals, these also indicate that a conflict is occurring.

The final indicator of conflict is that the person does not discuss progress, fails to achieve her goals in the team, or does not evaluate others fairly, thoroughly or at all. When communications totally break down, goals are not met and the member is complaining about others, the leader should know that this member is completely conflicted.

Now that you have looked at conflict indicators, can you remember a time when you were the person in conflict or watched someone who was, but didn’t understand what you were seeing? This isn’t just a work-related problem, but can crop up between any two people at any time. Now do you have some occasions in mind?

This information is from Washington State School Directors' Association and found on http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/
Jaco Grobbelaar, owner of BroadVision Marketing, helps business owners and business professionals put marketing strategies in place that consistently secure new clients. He can be reached at jaco@broadvisionmarketing.com or 707.799.1238. You can “Like” him at www.facebook.com/broadvisionmarketing or connect with him on www.linkedin.com/in/JacoGrobbelaar.

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Topics: YouTube, Team conflict, Controversy, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter, Leadership, Teamwork, Team, Team leader, Conflict resolution, team member

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